Search results for: scientific-objectivity-and-its-contexts

Scientific Objectivity and Its Contexts

Author : Evandro Agazzi
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The first part of this book is of an epistemological nature and develops an original theory of scientific objectivity, understood in a weak sense (as intersubjective agreement among the specialists) and a strong sense (as having precise concrete referents). In both cases it relies upon the adoption of operational criteria designed within the particular perspective under which any single science considers reality. The “object” so attained has a proper ontological status, dependent on the specific character of the criteria of reference (regional ontologies). This justifies a form of scientific realism. Such perspectives are also the result of a complex cultural-historical situation. The awareness of such a “historical determinacy” of science justifies including in the philosophy of science the problems of ethics of science, relations of science with metaphysics and social dimensions of science that overstep the traditional restriction of the philosophy of science to an epistemology of science. It is to this “context” that the second part of the book is devoted.

Evolving Nature of Objectivity in the History of Science and its Implications for Science Education

Author : Mansoor Niaz
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This book explores the evolving nature of objectivity in the history of science and its implications for science education. It is generally considered that objectivity, certainty, truth, universality, the scientific method and the accumulation of experimental data characterize both science and science education. Such universal values associated with science may be challenged while studying controversies in their original historical context. The scientific enterprise is not characterized by objectivity or the scientific method, but rather controversies, alternative interpretations of data, ambiguity, and uncertainty. Although objectivity is not synonymous with truth or certainty, it has eclipsed other epistemic virtues and to be objective is often used as a synonym for scientific. Recent scholarship in history and philosophy of science has shown that it is not the experimental data (Baconian orgy of quantification) but rather the diversity / plurality in a scientific discipline that contributes toward understanding objectivity. History of science shows that objectivity and subjectivity can be considered as the two poles of a continuum and this dualism leads to a conflict in understanding the evolving nature of objectivity. The history of objectivity is nothing less than the history of science itself and the evolving and varying forms of objectivity does not mean that one replaced the other in a sequence but rather each form supplements the others. This book is remarkable for its insistence that the philosophy of science, and in particular that discipline’s analysis of objectivity as the supposed hallmark of the scientific method, is of direct value to teachers of science. Meticulously, yet in a most readable way, Mansoor Niaz looks at the way objectivity has been dealt with over the years in influential educational journals and in textbooks; it’s fascinating how certain perspectives fade, while basic questions show no sign of going away. There are few books that take both philosophy and education seriously – this one does! Roald Hoffmann, Cornell University, chemist, writer and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

Varieties of Scientific Realism

Author : Evandro Agazzi
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This book offers a comprehensive update on the scientific realism debate, enabling readers to gain a novel appreciation of the role of objectivity and truth in science and to understand fully the various ways in which antirealist conceptions have been subjected to challenge over recent decades. Authoritative representatives of different philosophical traditions explain their perspectives on the meaning and validity of scientific realism and describe the strategies being adopted to counter persisting antirealist positions. The coverage extends beyond the usual discussion of realism within the context of the natural sciences, and especially physics, to encompass also its applicability in mathematics, logic, and the human sciences. The book will appeal to all with an interest in the recent realist epistemologies of science, the nature of current philosophical debate, and the ongoing rehabilitation of truth as the legitimate goal of scientific research.

The Edge of Objectivity

Author : Charles Coulston Gillispie
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Full circle -- Art, life, and experiment -- The new philosophy -- Newton with his prism and silent face -- Science and the Enlightenment -- The rationalization of matter -- The history of nature -- Biology comes of age -- Early energetics -- Field physics -- Epilogue.

Science Between Truth and Ethical Responsibility

Author : Mario Alai
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This book offers the most complete and up-to-date overview of the philosophical work of Evandro Agazzi, presently the most important Italian philosopher of science and one of the most influential in the world. Scholars from seven countries explore his contributions in areas ranging from philosophy of physics and general philosophy of science to bioethics, philosophy of mathematics and logic, epistemology of the social sciences and history of science, philosophy of language and artificial intelligence, education and anthropology, metaphysics and philosophy of religion. Agazzi developed a complete and coherent philosophical system, anticipating some of the turns in the philosophy of science after the crisis of logical empiricism and exerting an equal influence on continental hermeneutic philosophy. His work is characterized by an original synthesis of contemporary analytic philosophy, phenomenology and classical philosophy, including the scholastic tradition and these threads are reflected in the different backgrounds of the contributors to this book. While upholding the epistemological value of science against scepticism and relativism, Agazzi eschews scientism by stressing the equal importance of non-scientific forms of thought, such as metaphysics and religion. While defending the freedom of research as a cognitive enterprise, he argues that as a human and social practice it must nonetheless respect ethical constraints.

Historiography in the Twentieth Century

Author : Georg G. Iggers
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A broad perspective on historical thought and writing, with a new epilogue.

Objectivity and Diversity

Author : Sandra Harding
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Worries about scientific objectivity just won t go away, but by now, it s safe to say, no one who reflects on the appropriate role of values and interests in scientific research thinks it is or could be free of them. It now seems obvious that social, political, and economic values and interests influence research on weapons, for example, or health and the environment. Yet the dominant late twentieth-century philosophies of science have tended to conceptualize the reliability and predictive power of the results of research as damaged by such values and interests, and they continue to do so in spite of powerful analyses of how sciences operate in practice and in spite of the rise around the globe in the last four decades of various forms of participatory action research and citizen science, both of which take their research agendas from the concerns of disadvantaged groups. Why are the epistemic/scientific norm of objectivity and the social/political norm of diversity still perceived as inevitably in conflict with each other? Why aren t they perceived as in conflict only sometimes, but many times as providing valuable resources for each other? How can we promote science that is both more epistemically adequate and socially just? Sandra Harding probes these questions with clarity and concrete cases, and in doing so puts severe pressure on conventional philosophies of science and points to intellectually sounder and politically more progressive ways to think about them. She proposes a new way to relink sciences and their philosophies to democratic social relations, even while these are themselves undergoing transformations. A must read for anyone interested in how to think about the politics of science globally."

Science as Social Knowledge

Author : Helen E. Longino
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Conventional wisdom has it that the sciences, properly pursued, constitute a pure, value-free method of obtaining knowledge about the natural world. In light of the social and normative dimensions of many scientific debates, Helen Longino finds that general accounts of scientific methodology cannot support this common belief. Focusing on the notion of evidence, the author argues that a methodology powerful enough to account for theories of any scope and depth is incapable of ruling out the influence of social and cultural values in the very structuring of knowledge. The objectivity of scientific inquiry can nevertheless be maintained, she proposes, by understanding scientific inquiry as a social rather than an individual process. Seeking to open a dialogue between methodologists and social critics of the sciences, Longino develops this concept of "contextual empiricism" in an analysis of research programs that have drawn criticism from feminists. Examining theories of human evolution and of prenatal hormonal determination of "gender-role" behavior, of sex differences in cognition, and of sexual orientation, the author shows how assumptions laden with social values affect the description, presentation, and interpretation of data. In particular, Longino argues that research on the hormonal basis of "sex-differentiated behavior" involves assumptions not only about gender relations but also about human action and agency. She concludes with a discussion of the relation between science, values, and ideology, based on the work of Habermas, Foucault, Keller, and Haraway.

Re Thinking Science

Author : Helga Nowotny
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Re-Thinking Science presents an account of the dynamic relationship between society and science. Despite the mounting evidence of a much closer, interactive relationship between society and science, current debate still seems to turn on the need to maintain a 'line' to demarcate them. The view persists that there is a one-way communication flow from science to society - with scant attention given to the ways in which society communicates with science. The authors argue that changes in society now make such communications both more likely and more numerous, and that this is transforming science not only in its research practices and the institutions that support it but also deep in its epistemological core. To explain these changes, Nowotny, Scott and Gibbons have developed an open, dynamic framework for re-thinking science. The authors conclude that the line which formerly demarcated society from science is regularly transgressed and that the resulting closer interaction of science and society signals the emergence of a new kind of science: contextualized or context-sensitive science. The co-evolution between society and science requires a more or less complete re-thinking of the basis on which a new social contract between science and society might be constructed. In their discussion the authors present some of the elements that would comprise this new social contract.

Brain and Mind

Author : Andreas Steck
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Recent advances in the understanding of brain functions are reviewed in this text, along with how neurobiological research and brain imaging contributes to identifying and treating neurologic and psychiatric disorders. Chapters focus on consciousness, memory, emotions, language, communication, trauma, pain and resilience, while exploring how stressful events impact mental health and interrupt the continuity of one's sense of self. Clinical vignettes of patients with neurological and mental affections reveal coping and grieving processes in dreams and narratives. This presentation of clinical experience with neuro-scientific evidence provides neurologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists and psychologists with a coherent picture of the brain-mind relationship.

Philosophy of Social Science

Author : Nancy Cartwright
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This is a much-needed new introduction to a field that has been transformed in recent years by exciting new subjects, ideas, and methods. It is designed both for students with central interests in philosophy and those planning to concentrate on the social sciences, and it presupposes no particular background in either domain. From the wide range of topics at the forefront of debate in philosophy of social science, the editors have chosen those which are representative of the most important and interesting contemporary work. A team of distinguished experts explore key aspects of the field such as social ontology (what are the things that social science studies?), objectivity, formal methods, measurement, and causal inference. Also included are chapters focused on notable subjects of social science research, such as well-being and climate change. Philosophy of Social Science provides a clear, accessible, and up-to-date guide to this fascinating field.

Science Art and Nature in Medieval and Modern Thought

Author : A. C. Crombie
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A.C. Crombie sees the history of Western science as the history of a vision and an argument, initiated by the ancient Greeks in their search for principles at once of nature and of argument itself. This scientific vision explored and controlled by argument, and the diversification of both vision and argument by scientific experience and by interaction with the wider contexts of intellectual culture, constitute the long history of European scientific thought. Science, Art and Nature in Medieval and Modern Thought deals with scientific objectivity, with the historiography of medieval science, the medieval conception of laws of nature, and the historical relation between rational design in scientific experimentation and in the arts, exemplified especially by perspective painting.

Science Society and Values

Author : Sal P. Restivo
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This book covers some of the major contributions Sal Restivo has made to the sociology of science over the past twenty years. His work has been guided by three agendas: to develop a sociological theory of science and scientific knowledge; to use the sociology of science as a vehicle for developing a sociology of objectivity; and to explore the relationships between science, objectivity, and human values. He has tried - in his career and, specifically, in this volume - to understand science without accepting the culture of science uncritically. In his introduction, Restivo provides a view of the sociology of science from his perspective as a working sociologist of science. He sketches the sociology of science landscape and provides some preliminary indications of why a critical sociology of science is needed. Then, showing the influence of classical social theorists such as Marx, Durkheim, and Nietzsche, and later theorists such as G. H. Mead and C. W. Mills, he writes on the scientific revolution (using a human ecology approach), science and progress, the science machine (i.e., industrialized science), the anthropology of science, science policy, and epistemology. His substantive concerns lead directly to his proposal in the concluding chapter for a sociology of objectivity. In chapter 2, Restivo argues for a conception of the scientific revolution as an organizational and institutional revolution. This is crucial for understanding the author's claim in chapters 3 and 4 that modern science is a social problem, and his later claims about scientific knowledge as a social construction. There, the author begins to unfold a defense of anarchy in society and inquiry. In chapter 5, Restivo shows how his early study of visiting foreign scientists in America raised the question of ideology in science for him. He concludes the chapter by underscoring the results of the so-called "laboratory studies," in particular the suspension of a host of conventional dichotomies such as social/technical, fact/ artifact, and internal/external. Chapter 6 then examines issues of science policy and scientific validity from a sociology and anthropology of science perspective. The concept of a critical sociology of science is linked to the program for developing what Marx called a "human science." The final chapter includes a section on the sociology of mathematics, an area Restivo has pioneered in.

The Anti Romantic

Author : Jeffrey Reid
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Hegel's critique of Early German Romanticism and its theory of irony resonates to the core of his own philosophy in the same way that Plato's polemics with the Sophists have repercussions that go to the centre of his thought. The Anti-Romantic examines Hegel's critique of Fr. Schlegel, Novalis and Schleiermacher. Hegel rarely mentions these thinkers by name and the texts dealing with them often exist on the periphery of his oeuvre. Nonetheless, individually, they represent embodiments of specific forms of irony: Schlegel, a form of critical individuality; Novalis, a form of sentimental nihilism; Schleiermacher, a monstrous hybrid of the other two. The strength of Hegel's polemical approach to these authors shows how irony itself represents for him a persistent threat to his own idea of systematic Science. This is so, we discover, because Romantic irony is more than a rival ideology; it is an actual form of discourse, one whose performative objectivity interferes with the objectivity of Hegel's own logos. Thus, Hegel's critique of irony allows us to reciprocally uncover a Hegelian theory of scientific discourse. Far from seeing irony as a form of consciousness overcome by Spirit, Hegel sees it as having become a pressing feature of his own contemporary world, as witnessed in the popularity of his Berlin rival, Schleiermacher. Finally, to the extent that ironic discourse seems, for Hegel, to imply a certain world beyond his own notion of modernity, we are left with the hypothesis that Hegel's critique of irony may be viewed as a critique of post-modernity.

Research Report

Author : Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte
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Economics as a Political Muse

Author : M.K. Deblonde
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This book looks afresh, from a philosophical perspective, on the role economic theory plays in present-day ecological policy. It starts from fundamental questions concerning the nature of the problem of sustainability, of politics, and of economic science. It confronts the results of this investigation with the theoretical work of two prominent present-day economists. This book is written at a high academic level. It will be of interest to environmentalists, environmental economists, and for policy people charged with ecological problems.

Concept Formation in Social Science Routledge Revivals

Author : William Outhwaite
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First published in 1983, this book examines the problems of concept formation in the social sciences, and in particular sociology, from the standpoint of a realistic philosophy of science. Beginning with a discussion of positivistic, hermeneutic, rationalist and realistic philosophies of science, Dr Outhwaite argues that realism is best able to furnish rational criteria for the choice and specification of social scientific concepts. A realistic philosophy of science therefore acts as his reference point for the dialectical presentation of alternative accounts.

Introduction to Machine Learning

Author : Yves Kodratoff
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A textbook suitable for undergraduate courses in machine learning and related topics, this book provides a broad survey of the field. Generous exercises and examples give students a firm grasp of the concepts and techniques of this rapidly developing, challenging subject. Introduction to Machine Learning synthesizes and clarifies the work of leading researchers, much of which is otherwise available only in undigested technical reports, journals, and conference proceedings. Beginning with an overview suitable for undergraduate readers, Kodratoff establishes a theoretical basis for machine learning and describes its technical concepts and major application areas. Relevant logic programming examples are given in Prolog. Introduction to Machine Learning is an accessible and original introduction to a significant research area.

Critical Neuroscience

Author : Suparna Choudhury
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Critical Neuroscience: A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience brings together multi-disciplinary scholars from around the world to explore key social, historical and philosophical studies of neuroscience, and to analyze the socio-cultural implications of recent advances in the field. This text’s original, interdisciplinary approach explores the creative potential for engaging experimental neuroscience with social studies of neuroscience while furthering the dialogue between neuroscience and the disciplines of the social sciences and humanities. Critical Neuroscience transcends traditional skepticism, introducing novel ideas about ‘how to be critical’ in and about science.

The Origins of Life

Author : Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka
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Life appears ungraspable, yet its understanding lies at the heart of current preoccupations. In our attempt to understand life through its origins, the ambition of the present collection is to unravel the network of the origin of the various spheres of sense that carry it onwards. The primogenital matrix of generation (Tymieniecka), elaborated as the fulcrum of this collection, elucidates the main riddles of the scientific / philosophical controversies concerning the status of various spheres that seek to make sense of life.